Since 1970, the Institute of Reading Development has been dedicated to one thing: making reading a central part of life for children and adults. We offer programs that give students of all ages the skills they need to immerse themselves in great books, develop a lifelong love of reading, and succeed in school and beyond! Over the past 50 years, we’ve turned more than 3 million students into skilled, enthusiastic readers.
As a result of our unique mission and extensive experience, our current programs stand out from any other educational program available. Our ‘Inspiring Instruction’ brings together a continuously updated curriculum, the best books, and excellent teachers with a passion for books and reading and extensive training in how to keep students engaged online. This one-of-a-kind combination produces excellent results. In fact, it is the overall impact of our instruction that will really inspire your child.
Let me explain what I mean.
The Right Skills
To begin, we will teach your child the grade-specific skills he or she needs to succeed in school and grow into a strong reader who loves great books. Whether your child is struggling to keep up in school, already on track, or exceeding expectations, our program will meet your child where he or she is. Your son or daughter will be appropriately challenged and experience success at every step.
In each of our programs, we teach essential skills by blending in-class instruction from a terrific teacher with fun online lessons between classes. In class, your child will enjoy learning new skills through engaging instruction and dynamic group activities. Between classes, interactive lessons will keep your child focused and provide everything he or she needs to continue growing as a reader. Your child will read and practice skills regularly and make great progress.
The skills taught in our programs will help your child succeed academically and will go a long way toward building your child’s confidence as a reader. When your child’s reading skills are strong, it will make reading easier, more enjoyable, and more productive. Your child will eagerly look to books as a source of knowledge and inspiration and want to continue reading and improving throughout the year.
The Right Books
At the heart of our curriculum are carefully selected books at the right level of difficulty for students in each grade. As your child reads these outstanding books, he or she will get lots of practice applying the skills learned during weekly online classes and interactive lessons.
But for us, the program books serve as much more than material for skills practice. We know that great books also have the power to inspire and shape your child.
Great and good books help us, as parents and teachers, guide young people to the higher values and truths in life. And we know that development toward these higher things is not a given, not in our world today, not ever. It’s a joy to be a parent, to watch our children grow, but it’s always challenging and often hard. We need all the help we can get.
That’s why we choose the most captivating, wonderful books available for each age. For our youngest students, we pick books with great stories and funny characters, written at a level that ensures kids’ success as they learn to read. As our students get older, we select books filled with exciting adventures and compelling characters they can relate to. These books tell rich and vibrant stories that will transport your child to other times and places. Our program books will engage your child’s imagination in a way that only great books can –through the thrilling, almost magical experience of being ‘lost’ in a book. Your child will share in the lives of the characters and learn from their failures and triumphs right along with them.
To quote the Institute’s founder and president, Paul Copperman, “Good, age-appropriate literature can help form a young person’s character. These great and good books help us, as parents and teachers, guide young people to the higher values and truths in life. And we know that development toward these higher things is not a given, not in our world today, not ever. It’s a joy to be a parent, to watch our children grow, but it’s always challenging and often hard. We need all the help we can get.”
Our program will help your child develop into a reader who is able not only to comprehend great books, but also to experience and learn something profound from them.
The Right Experience
Great experiences don’t just happen, even in great books. That’s where our knowledgeable, passionate teachers come in. We train our teachers to lead activities and discussions that bring kids ‘inside’ books for a unique, immersive experience. From the first class, our reading teachers will make the program books come alive for your child.
Students of all ages love talking about books with others, and leading discussions is our specialty. Every student participates. Every student speaks. Every student is heard.
In each class, students spend some time reading before the teacher stops to review events and confirm that the entire class understands what they just read. What happens next is very exciting. The teacher opens up a dynamic discussion that serves as a gateway into the world of the book. Under the teacher’s guidance, students explore the rich themes and deeper meaning of the book and form individual connections between the story and their own lives. The characters in our program books go through many of the same challenges that real children face every day: becoming independent, overcoming adversity, building relationships, and more. When students return to reading following guided discussion, they do it with stronger comprehension and a powerful sense of connection.
The pure joy of engaging with books in a meaningful way each week will help your child become a strong, confident reader who loves books and reading. When your child connects with a book on a personal level, he or she is ready for the ultimate experience that we want for all readers: the joyful and exciting experience of being ‘lost’ in a great book.
The Right Results
At the Institute of Reading Development, we call the experience of getting lost in a good book “absorption.” When children get absorbed in books, they live the main character’s adventures as their own. Leaving the real world behind, your child may visit faraway lands or live in other time periods, just by participating in the imaginatively recreated world of a book.
Absorption will expand your child’s horizons and make reading meaningful. Although the characters in our program books are fictional, they go through many of the same things as your child. As your child reads, he or she will meet these characters and think things like, “Wow! I’ve always wondered the same thing,” or “This reminds me of what I went through.” Absorption in books is a way for your child to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and of themselves.
Starting with the very youngest students, who are just learning to read, our programs establish a love of books and reading that puts students on the path to absorption. We teach all of our students the skills that lead to more success with reading, give them practice using those skills in great books, and then guide them to understand and enjoy what they are reading on a deeper level. In the end, our emphasis on understanding and experiencing books leads to absorption. Many students get absorbed in a book for the first time in our program.
I remember one of our high school classes that I taught myself, years ago. An initially unenthusiastic student came to the last class meeting a few minutes early. We talked for a few seconds, and then he pulled out his book and began reading. He was on the book’s final pages.
Other students filed in, and he took no notice as I greeted them. I got ready to start class. Eventually I said, “OK, let’s get started,” and looked at him, on the final pages of his book, still taking no notice of the others around him, turning the pages so that his eye immediately jumped from the end of one page to the beginning of the other. Only two pages left…
I decided to tell the class, “Actually, I need a few more minutes.” I just had to let that student have the uninterrupted experience of absorption for the first time in his life. It was that important.
The Overall Impact
As you can see, it is the overall impact of our unique approach to reading instruction – the skills we teach in our curriculum, the books we choose, our skilled and passionate teachers, as well as our emphasis on experiencing books – that is so inspiring for our students. Bringing the life-changing experience of absorption to our students is at the core of each online program we offer today.
The love of reading that your child develops in our program is formative: your child will identify with many different characters and how they handle the ups and downs of life. This will expand your child’s imagination of what is possible and help your child grow into the best version of who you want them to be in the world. This is what we hope our instruction inspires in every child, adolescent, and adult we teach.
Doug Evans started out as a reading teacher for the Institute in 1995 and spent more than a decade training teachers to provide inspiring instruction. He is currently the Executive Director of the Institute of Reading Development.
Help your child succeed with our continuously updated curriculum, the best books available, and excellent teachers who love reading.
Every program features live instruction from a knowledgeable, encouraging teacher and lots of opportunities to practice new skills in grade-appropriate books. Between classes, interactive online lessons reinforce and enrich what students have learned.